EPA Criminal Prosecutions Down by Half in Last Five Years
(24 Oct 2016) This year the country is poised to have the lowest number of criminal prosecutions from investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for over two decades. Compared to five years ago when there were 182 individuals and businesses prosecuted, the estimate of FY 2016 prosecutions of this type is less than half the level earlier in President Obama's administration.

Criminal prosecutions resulting from EPA referrals to federal prosecutors peaked during FY 1998 when President Clinton was in office when they reached 198, and were nearly as high at 196 during the first year of President Bush's administration. While most EPA referrals are of individuals accused of committing environmental crimes, about one if four (23.9%) of EPA's referrals during the Obama years have been businesses.

During this fiscal year, the most frequent conviction involved water pollution under Title 33 Section 1319 of the U.S. Code. The next most frequent was for violating federal standards for air pollution prevention and control under 42 U.S.C. 7413. The third most common conviction this past year was under 42 U.S.C. 6298 for hazardous waste management.

A total of 22 out of the 63 who were convicted received prison sentences. The sentence for the most prison time was for 121 months, and the typical (median) sentence for the 22 receiving prison time was 12 months. An additional 33 received probation instead of any prison time. The typical probation sentence was for 36 months. The remaining 8 received neither prison nor probation but were fined.

The Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) led the nation with the largest number of criminal prosecutions as a result of EPA investigations with nine. The Western District of Louisiana (Shreveport) was second with seven, followed by the Southern District of Florida (Miami) with five.

For more details, including a timeline over the past 30 years, current sentencing outcomes, and the top ranked districts in prosecutions filed this year, see the report at:

In addition to these most recent overall figures, TRAC continues to offer free monthly reports on selected government agencies such as the FBI, ATF, DHS and the IRS. TRAC's reports also monitor program categories such as immigration, drugs, weapons, white collar crime and terrorism. For the latest information on prosecutions and convictions through August 2016, go to:

Even more detailed criminal enforcement information for the period from FY 1986 through August 2016 is available to TRACFed subscribers via the Express and Going Deeper tools. Go to for more information. Customized reports for a specific agency, district, program, lead charge or judge are available via the TRAC Data Interpreter, either as part of a TRACFed subscription or on a per-report basis. Go to to start.

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